There are a variety of features that can help green your home, improve performance, increase comfort, and improve health and safety. The following resources provide a general overview of the key elements of green home construction and renovations.
- LEED for Homes, a residential rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
- National Green Building Standard, a residential rating system developed by the National Association of Home Builders.
- Seattle's Green Home Remodeling Guides cover a broad range of topics and provide strategies for green home remodeling; including an overview, bath & laundry, kitchen, painting, lighting, landscape materials, roofing, hiring a pro, salvage & reuse, and home energy guide.
- Arlington's Green Home Building and Remodeling Resource Directory provides listings of firms with expertise in the design and construction of green building in the metropolitan Washington region. The directory is not intended to be exhaustive and does not represent an endorsement for any of the listed products and services.
- Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology (PATH) Guide to Green Building
- US Green Building Council's LEED for Homes Homeowners Operations and Maintenance (HOM) Manual (Zip file)
Historic Preservation and Sustainability
Rockville's historic homes have unique opportunities and challenges for sustainability. By nature, the reuse and reinvestment in historic structures reduces waste, reduces demand for energy and natural resources, and conserves embodied energy. However, green improvements should honor the historic integrity of the building and recognize the unique characteristics of the building materials, systems, and climate. Importantly, before adding insulation and sealing your home, you should consider moisture and ventilation issues to prevent mold and mildew, damage to the home, and compromised indoor air quality. Exterior features, such as roofing, doors, windows, insulation, and mechanical systems may also require careful planning and design.
Sustainable site development involves the wise selection of a site that minimizes environmental impacts, reduces emissions associated with transportation, implements sustainable landscape practices that reduce resource consumption and restores natural areas, manages stormwater runoff, reduces the heat island effect, and eliminates light pollution.
There are a variety of options to conserve water, both inside and outside your home to help you save money and reduce demand on public water supplies and infrastructure.
- Rockville's Rainscapes Rewards program helps homeowners improve stormwater conditions on their property.
- Rockville is a partner in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' Wise Water Use Campaign, the first regionally coordinate effort to promote wise water use and stewardship. The campaign has over 100 water saving tips that can be easily incorporated into everyday life.
- WaterSense is a partnership program, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that makes it easy to save water and protect the environment. Look for the WaterSense label to choose quality, water-efficient products.
Energy Efficiency and Atmosphere
Efforts to address energy reliability and affordability, slow the depletion of the ozone layer, and mitigate climate change focus on energy demand, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and ongoing energy performance.
- Maryland Home Performance with ENERGY STAR offers a whole-house approach energy efficiency, including an energy audit and a list of certified contractors.
- Home Energy Audits, learn about the benefits of an energy audit, how to conduct a "do-it-yourself" audit or hire a certified contractor, and how to find incentives to pay for the energy audit and improvements.
- The Department of Energy's Insulation Fact Sheet presents an overview of the different type of insulation and tips for insulating new and existing homes.
- Clean Energy, learn more about what it is, how much it costs, and how you can purchase clean energy or install renewable energy system in your home.
- Green-e Energy is a voluntary certification and verification program for renewable energy products.
- Maryland Clean Energy Center's tips for clean energy alternatives (solar, wind, geothermal, and energy efficiency).
- ENERGY STAR Qualified Products include appliances, computers and electronics, heating and cooling, lighting and fans, plumbing and building products.
- ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes contains information for home improvement as well as new homes. Qualified homes include an efficient home envelope, air distribution system, equipment, lighting and appliances.
- ENERGY STAR Qualified Manufactured Homes contain guidelines for designing, producing, selling, and installing energy-efficient manufactured homes under the ENERGY STAR program.
Materials and Resources
Buildings generate a large amount of waste throughout their life cycles, from construction to building operation to demolition. Green building addresses waste management and life-cycle impacts.
Indoor Environmental Quality
Indoor environment quality is a major concern for buildings and the health, safety, and productivity of their occupants. Strategies reduce indoor air pollutants, ensure adequate ventilation of fresh air, and appropriate controls for thermal comfort, lighting, and acoustics.
- US EPA Indoor AirPLUS program contains specifications to improve air quality in new homes to protect from moisture, mold, pests, combustion gases, and other airborne pollutants.
- US EPA, "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home"
- US EPA, "Home Improvement, Mold, Mildew or Musty Odors"
- Green Seal provides third-party certification of environmental friendly floor finishes, household cleaning products, paints and coatings.
- US EPA, Radon and Indoor Air Quality
- The Carpet and Rug Institute offers the Green Label and Green Label Plus certification program for low volatile organic compounds (VOC) carpet, carpet backings, cushions and adhesives.